What a heat wave we're experiencing here in Toronto this November! While Nathalie and I stay soaking up the unexpectedly beautiful weather, we're also trying to get the most out of our favourite fruits and vegetables while they remain in season.
Some dazzling, colourful mini heirloom tomatoes are still on stands at the small, local produce shops on Church Street near our place, so I picked some up on my way home from class and set my mind to developing a simple salad with them!
This Heirloom Tomato Salad is made with a quickly-thrown-together Labneh as opposed to the traditional mozzarella or burrata cheese accompaniment. Labneh is one of our latest obsessions – it's basically Greek yogurt that has been strained through a cheesecloth and left overnight to thicken. It's a Lebanese dish, usually served with fine olive oil, za'atar spice (a mix of sumac, toasted sesame seeds, thyme, salt & pepper) and sometimes honey drizzled overtop.
Ever since Nathalie and I tried labneh at one of our favourite restaurants, Byblos, we've been dying to recreate it. It's an absolute delicacy in our household. Usually labneh is served as a dip for toasted bread and roasted root vegetables like beets, but I knew it would be a fantastic accompaniment for these juicy, sweet and tart fall tomatoes.
I definitely went against the grain in throwing together my labneh, especially since I didn't strain it overnight. I mean, who has the time to do that, especially when you're craving something right away! So of course in impulsive fashion (and without ever having used a cheesecloth before), I decided to use a slightly thickened version of the Greek yogurt as a labneh and sprinkled it with my own version of za'atar spice. If you're interested in making a more authentic version of labneh, Food 52 has a great recipe.
Sumac is a spice that I don't readily have on hand, and it wasn't in my local grocery store. However, I borrowed some flavour elements from our own Homemade Chicken Shawarma recipe (which also uses heirloom tomatoes!) to add to my labneh. Instead of sumac, I used a combination of cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, salt and pepper, drizzling honey and olive oil overtop of the thickened yogurt.
To negate some of the harshness of the tomatoes, I mixed up a last minute citrus vinaigrette to pour overtop of the tomatoes, et voila! Our very own fine-dining masterpiece with sweet and creamy quick labneh.
Will you be trying our Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Quick Labneh? How are you using heirloom tomatoes this year? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at the @GirlsonBloorTO 🙂
Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Quick Labneh
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Some cheesecloth can be found at the dollar store
- Pinch of sesame seeds cumin, coriander, salt & pepper
- Drizzle of olive oil and honey
- Pinch of chopped pistachios optional
- 2 cups chopped mini heirloom tomatoes sliced in half
- Any type of sprouts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of half an orange
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Prepare labneh by putting a cheesecloth over a wire strainer. Let sit over a large bowl and strain for up to 24 hours, but a quick version of this is fine to be strained within 15 minutes (squeeze out as much liquid as you can if you go this route!)
- Scoop a bit of the labneh into the middle of a large pasta bowl, and sprinkle with spice mix and pistachios, and drizzle with olive oil and honey.
- Mix all the ingredients for the citrus dressing together, and then cut tomatoes in half.
- Arrange the tomatoes all around the labneh, and pour a tiny bit of dressing overtop of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with sprouts, and serve with sesame bread!